The Malta Independent 3 March 2024, Sunday
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Wallner Charged with former wife’s murder

Malta Independent Saturday, 13 June 2009, 00:00 Last update: about 11 years ago

Peter Wallner, husband of Maltese woman Lilia Fenech was yesterday charged with murdering his former wife Melanie Wallner after her badly composed body was found dumped inside a wheelie bin outside their home in Surrey, UK.

Peter Wallner, 33, was also been charged with preventing her lawful and decent burial.

He is to appear at Woking Magistrates’ Court this morning.

Police said they still do not know when South African-born Melanie Wallner died and repeated their appeals for information from anyone who has seen the woman since August 2006.

Meanwhile, Lilia Fenech insisted on the innocence of her partner.

According to The Mirror, Lilia Fenech, 23, wife and not lover or girlfriend of Peter Wallner, 33, an unemployed German born chef, claimed that they came to Malta to start afresh and not to escape the law. The Mirror reported Lilia saying, “I know Pete and I know he’s innocent”. She added that the couple have nothing to hide and that they knew nothing about the killing.

The couple have been planning to come to Malta since last September. It seems that Lilia’s father was near his daughter in Surrey to help her pack around three weeks ago. Mr Fenech, of San Gwann, said that the couple filled their wheelie bin with paper and boxes and pushed it onto the street to be emptied before they left.

Mr Fenech also pointed out that there had been a spate of vandalism in the area where the couple lived, with some of the residents waking up to find their car tyres slashed. Mr Fenech could not explain why the body was dumped in that wheelie bin but said that possibly it was a vindictive act.

Lilia and her father spoke after the police arrested Wallner at Gatwick airport on suspicion of killing his ex-wife, whose body was found outside the house they rented in Hamilton Avenue, Cobham. Wallner and Fenech left their home in Surrey shortly before Melanie, who would have been 32 last November was found.

The corpse of the South African woman found last weekend by neighbours might have been hidden in a freezer or secured elsewhere for around three years. Her body was so badly decomposed that only dental records identified it.

Peter and Melanie Wallner were married in North London in 2001. Mrs Wallner’s maiden name is Van Der Merwe. It is alleged that Mr Wallner told friends that his South African wife had died some years ago.

Friends and family of Melanie Wallner have told police they had not seen her since August 2006 at least. A post-mortem examination showed she suffered head injuries but the cause, and date of death remain a mystery.

British police said Mr Wallner was still being quizzed and police said Lilia is not wanted for questioning. Mr Wallner had contacted the British authorities from Malta where he stayed with his new wife’s family. Apparently, the two met about two years ago when Mr Wallner was head chef at the exclusive Woodlands Park Hotel in Cobham were she worked as a trainee and they have been married for six months.

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